A Look Back: Hoeppner Leads IU to Season-Opening 20-13 Victory at Central Michigan
Sept. 3, 2005
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Sophomore quarterback Blake Powers and the Indiana football team (1-0) delivered the final dagger to the Central Michigan (0-1) defense with a 74-yard touchdown pass that lifted the Hoosiers over the Chippewas, 20-13, in IU's season opener. Head coach Terry Hoeppner's squad never relinquished the lead after seizing it in the middle of the second quarter.
Powers led the charge for the Hoosiers completing 17 out of 35 passes on the night, three of which ended in an IU touchdown.
Meanwhile, the offense tallied 385 yards for the evening, 109 coming from the ground and the other 276 recorded in the air by Powers.
Individual performances from senior running back Yamar Washington and freshman wide receiver James Hardy highlighted the Hoosiers' offensive effort. Washington rumbled for 108 yards rushing, while Hardy registered 107 receiving yards in his collegiate football debut.
Both senior linebacker John Pannozzo and senior defensive end Ben Ishola registered stuffs behind the line of scrimmage, while Pannozzo and senior defensive end Victor Adeyanju led IU in unassisted tackles with six and five, respectively.
The possession clock went highly in the Hoosiers' favor, as Indiana held the ball for 34:34 minutes, compared to just 25:36 for Central.
Defense set the pace of the first quarter, with neither team able to cross midfield in the game's early minutes.
Central Michigan's offense passed the midfield mark first with a 35-yard pass to senior tight end Jacob Brown from senior quarterback Kent Smith. The Chippewas got no closer than the Indiana-35 during the drive, exhausting a scoring chance that ended in a punt.
Pannozzo claimed his first sack of the season by sending Central's Smith 14-yards for a loss in the Chippewas' next drive past the 50-yard line. The feat forced the Chippewas to kick as they looked at fourth-and-20.
Central again looked at a scoring chance off a field goal attempt just outside Indiana's redzone at the 23. Sophomore kicker Tony Mikulec missed the kick wide, turning the ball over on downs.
Central Michigan capitalized of its second scoring opportunity, moving into striking range off a 66-yard pass to junior wide receiver Damien Linson. IU's defense held Central, before freshman kicker Rick Albreski connected on a 30-yard field-goal attempt to push the Chippewas ahead by three.
Indiana wasted no time in answering, scoring on its next two possessions to give the Hoosiers the 14-3 lead going into halftime.
The Hoosiers tallied their first score at the 3:25 mark, followed by a strike from a two-yard pass to junior tight end Matt O'Neal at the 1:16 mark for their second appearance in the end zone. O'Neal's scoring opportunity came from Hardy, who picked up 54-yards when he ripped a Powers' pass from the defender to set up the short touchdown.
Powers, who posted a 7-for-7 effort en route to Hardy's 87 yards, highlighted the scoring drives during the offensive explosion.
The Hoosiers, who received the ball to start the second half, charged again for the Central Michigan end zone. This time, the IU rushing game that had struggled in the opening half imposed its will on Central. The rushing unit ran for 39 yards, putting the Hoosier kicking unit into scoring position. Unfortunately, freshman kicker Joe Kleinsmith missed the attempt wide from 35-yards out to end the IU scoring threat.
The Chippewas then used the third quarter to threaten the Hoosier lead, scoring again at the 4:54 mark to reduce the IU cushion to seven. Central connected on a 39-yard field goal from Albreski, after exhausting two minutes during the drive.
The stage was set for the final quarter as IU maintained the lead 14-6. The Hoosiers, who ended the third in Central's redzone, looked to capitalize off their field position. Senior free safety, however, Pacino Horne then intercepted Powers' pass in the end zone, giving the Chippewas the ball at their own 20.
The defensive stand setup Central's next scoring drive, as freshman running back Ontario Sneed rolled for an 80-yard rushing touchdown to give the Chippewa's another crack at the Hoosier lead.
It was the last for Central Michigan, which watched the Hoosiers again go to the air to complete their final score of the night off a 74-yard pass to redshirt freshman wide receiver Marcus Thigpen at the 13:38 mark. Central's Isaac Brown blocked the successive extra-point to give the game its final score of 20-13, victory Hoosiers.
The Hoosiers are set to take on Nicholls State in their home opener next Saturday, Sept. 7, at 4 p.m.
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